The United States is a land of opportunities, and with the prestige of the country and the promises it holds, it is no surprise that a lot of individuals are mesmerized by living “The American Dream”. If you’re not a native origin of the United States, the next best thing that gives you the privileges of a U.S. citizen is a Green Card.
The U.S. Green Card gives you the lawful right to live and work in the United States of America while enjoying the majority of the benefits that citizens enjoy (but not all). But the good thing is that having a Green Card makes you a permanent resident of the country.
Though the green card and citizenship give individuals privileges of residing and working in the USA, there are certain differences between the two statuses that we’d discuss in this article. But before we do that, we need to first explain the things that make someone qualified for the green card and citizenship respectively.
How to Qualify for a Green Card:
1. Those Who Already Have Green Cards and Need a Renew
If you are already a green card holder and have held your green card for close to 10 years, you’re expected to renew it. Having an existing green card makes you eligible for a reissuance provided you have clean records.
2. Relatives of U.S Citizens or Relatives of Permanent Residents
If you have a spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then you’re eligible for a family-sponsored green card.
The United States of America has an annual program that provides green cards to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. This is tagged the diversity lottery, and is open to individuals from the listed nations to apply. Learn more about US diversity visa eligibility and eligible countries.
How to Qualify for U.S Citizenship
U.S. citizenship can be obtained through naturalization; a process that requires five years of permanent residency (3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens). You’ll have to pass a citizenship test and demonstrate English language proficiency and good moral character.
Best Practices for Green Card and Citizenship Applications
Get professional guidance: Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help ensure proper application preparation, minimize errors, and increase the likelihood of approval.
Gather documentation diligently: Collect all required documents well in advance of the application deadline to avoid delays.
Maintain a clean immigration record: Avoid any criminal convictions or immigration violations that could jeopardize your application.
Difference Between a Green Card and a Citizenship?
The key distinctions that can be found between the Green Card holders and permanent US citizens can be traced to 4 key areas; status, rights, travel access, and renewal. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss the different areas and the differences for each status.
Status: Permanent Resident
Rights: Right to Live and Work in the U.S
Travel Access: Can Travel Outside the U.S but May require a re-entry permit
Renewal: Green card holders must renew their status periodically (every 10 years)
Status: Full Member of the American Society
Rights: Right to vote, hold public office, and petition for family members
Travel Access: Can travel outside the U.S. without restrictions
Renewal: U.S. citizenship is permanent and does not require renewal
What Happens After 10 Years with a Green Card?
Many 10-year green card expires after 10 years. So, it is expected that you apply for renewal after 10 years or 6 months before the expiration using Form I-90
How Many Times Can You Get a Green Card
There’s no limit to how many times you can apply for a green card as a first-time applicant. If you’re also renewing, there’s no limit.
Can You Be Deported Because of An Expired Green Card?
Ideally, Green Card holders maintain the status of permanent residents and can’t be deported to their country of origin. However, care should be taken to avoid committing crimes, or violating laws that can force their residency to be revoked.
How Can a Green Card Holder Become a Citizen?
For a Green Card holder to qualify for citizenship, the applicant will need to fulfil other eligibility requirements and must have lived in the US for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a US citizen).
Conclusion on the Difference Between a Green Card and a Citizenship Holder
In summary, both green card and citizenship statuses give the individuals residency rights. Though limited for green card holders, they both enjoy the dividends of permanent residents. The major difference between a green card and a citizenship holder can be tied to status, rights, travel access, and renewal. In this article, we’ve ensured to cover all the relevant information that you need to know regarding the similarities and differences between a green card and a citizenship.
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